With all the breast vs. bottle debate in our society, and among our mothering circles today, a new debate over donated breast milk has emerged onto center stage.
While it is nothing new that breast milk is considered best for babies, there are mothers out there who cannot produce milk, or may have a medical condition in which their breast milk may not be safe for their baby. Then there is children maybe not being able to handle breast milk like I went through with my second son.
In recent months I have seen this debated on public forums, and in most cases described as gross, or disgusting with some mothers going as far as calling it unsanitary. But a recent news article out of Connecticut shows donor breast milk the norm for babies in one of Connecticut’s leading children hospitals.
NBC Connecticut reported yesterday about a local mother of twins, born prematurely and their ability to thrive on donated breast milk through a program at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The program aimed at premature babies provides donated breast milk to all premature infants born before 32 weeks gestation, or weighing less than four pounds at birth.
Contrary to popular belief that this milk could carry disease, and other issues that would make the process unsanitary, the milk goes through a screening and pasteurization process which eliminates the chance of disease.
The article details :
“The donors are screened the same way as someone who would be donating blood or donating an organ. So they’re screened for all the viruses and lifestyle issues and drug use and things that would make you worry about using this milk,” said Dr. Kathleen Marinelli, a neonatologist at the medical center, and the medical director of the New England Breast Milk Bank outside of Boston. “It helps mature their GI tract. It has immune factors in it. It has live cells in it. It has all types of things that help them mature and develop in ways they otherwise wouldn’t have having come out of mom’s womb early,” she said.
As someone who has personally donated breast milk to a family member, I stand behind the importance and safety in the process, but could understand why others would be skeptical.
Would you use donated breast milk for your child?